Dr. Patrick Stover presenting, “Enhancing the Purpose of Food,” for the USDA-ARS Under the Microscope Memorial Lecture Series
Dr. Patrick Stover testifies in front of full House Committee on Agriculture as part of “Innovation, Employment, Integrity, and Health: Opportunities for Modernization in Title IV” hearing.
WASHINGTON – June 8, 2023 – Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D., director of the Texas A&M Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture (IHA), testified in front of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture yesterday to document that swift action is needed to reverse the increasing rates of diet-related chronic diseases and their subsequent economic burden on health care systems and costs.
Given that many of the drivers of chronic disease are related to diet, health behaviors, and our food systems, Dr. Stover was poised to provide insightful comments on our healthcare burdens, saliently offering solutions. The IHA’s research aims to align Precision Nutrition, Responsive Agriculture, and Healthy Living as a solution to the pressing health crisis affecting all Americans. Medical costs associated with dietrelated diabetes alone total more than $327 billion annually.
“Agriculture and food are the only feasible solutions to address our skyrocketing health care costs. We need to develop a systems-based approach to connect agriculture, food, nutrition, and human health,” said Dr. Stover.
The committee hearing focused on federal nutrition programs, and Stover in his testimony cited the disproportionate impact of chronic diseases and food insecurity and associated costs on rural, underserved, and underrepresented communities, underscoring the urgent need for agriculture-centered, responsive solutions.
“We need to continue the work to eliminate hunger while expanding our mission to also ensure that our food environments promote human health,” said Dr. Stover. “Both the food environment that consumers experience, and consumer health behaviors need to be addressed together through sound policy grounded in high-quality scientific evidence that is lacking at this time.”
A strong evidence base is needed to ensure that policy is driven by the best science – to this end, Dr. Stover created the Agriculture, Food, & Nutrition Evidence Center at Texas A&M University. Dr. Stover also emphasized that the United States has made extraordinarily successful advances through nutrition and agriculture already, but that hunger and health must become the new endpoints for our food systems to adapt to if we are going to tackle the problem of chronic diseases.
“Farmers and ranchers have always been prepared to meet the needs and expectations of the nation, they feed America, and want to be part of the solution to help all Americans,” Stover emphasized.
Dr. Stover, an international leader in biochemistry, agriculture, and nutrition, is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has more than two decades of academic leadership experience, including serving as Vice Chancellor and Dean at Texas A&M AgriLife. Last month, he was named the 2023 W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecturer in recognition of his outstanding contributions to nutrition research.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas, May 16, 2023 — Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D., director of the Texas A&M Institute for Advancing Health through Agriculture (IHA), has been named the 2023 W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecturer in recognition of his outstanding contributions to nutrition research.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) established the Atwater Lecture as a tribute to Wilbur Olin Atwater, an influential figure in modern nutrition research and education. It goes to scientists who have made exceptional efforts in improving the diet and nutrition of people around the globe.
The prestigious award represents the latest acknowledgement of the IHA’s contributions advancing research in responsive agriculture and precision nutrition and promoting a healthy diet and lifestyles.
“Dr. Stover is leading a charge toward positive impacts of nutrition and how people of the United States – and the world – consume food,” said Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp. “We are proud to have him on our team at Texas A&M, in conjunction with our partnerships with the USDA-ARS, and look forward to continuing to support his vision.”
His lecture, “Enhancing the Purpose of Food,” will focus on agriculture, food and nutrition as a solution to challenges facing society. It will be presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, July 22-25 in Boston. Past recipients have included prominent research scientists and academics.
Stover, an international leader in biochemistry, agriculture and nutrition, is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“Being named an Atwater Memorial Lecturer is so humbling, given the legacy of Dr. Atwater and those who have previously been recognized, and highlights the critical importance of the work we are doing at the Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture,” Stover said.
“Our research strives to create meaningful connections in agriculture, food and human health through impactful fundamental and translational research. The research holds the key to mitigating the prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases while also considering the broader environmental and economic impacts of our food systems,” he said.
Stover, a former president of the American Society for Nutrition, has served two terms on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board. He received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Clinton, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.
“This award recognizes global leaders who work to improve human health through food systems. Dr. Stover’s visionary creation of the IHA will advance our ability to improve health and reduce chronic disease through collaborations of responsive agriculture, precision nutrition and social and behavioral research,” said Regan Bailey, Ph.D., IHA associate director for Precision Nutrition. “The IHA is the first of its kind to have such a multidisciplinary focus, and our partnerships with USDA would make Dr. Atwater proud.”
Stover has more than 23 years of academic leadership experience, serving as vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M AgriLife, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research and director the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Saint Joseph’s University, a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his postdoctoral studies in nutritional sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.